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Was the O.J. Simpson Verdict Correct?

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O.J. Simpson, F. Lee Bailey, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr.

O.J. Simpson, the American Football player who went by the nickname “The Juice” during his professional career is under the spotlight yet again due to the FX series depicting the double-homicide trial. Interestingly enough, the miniseries has brought to light the process of the trial to those of us who were never so involved.

O.J. Trial

Credit: FX O.J. Trial Miniseries

There is no doubt that the miniseries portrays the kind of America that we have been living in since the 1960’s. Yes, there is racism. Yes, police will attempt to charge minorities for crimes which hold no evidence. However, here we have a story portrayed in a different fashion. In the trial of the double-homicide of Simpson and Goldman, we have a man who was guilty on paper but was read a “not-guilty” verdict. In this case, there was evidence. And all the evidence pointed to one outcome – except they could not produce the murder weapon itself… until recently.

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A knife was turned over to a police officer by a construction worker. The officer then retired shortly after and kept the knife in his personal collection, only disclosing to police officials recently. Strange is the motto here; the knife was only brought into the public eye in a time where a miniseries is airing, referring to the specific trial.

Let’s go back to the actual trial. The jurors which produced the verdict claim that the evidence was not there. The jury consisted of 9 Blacks, 2 Whites, and 1 Hispanic – 9 were female. The defense put a great amount of effort into the jury selection process.  Data was collected from each potential juror and this data was put into a computer and each juror ranked according to their likely sympathy to the defense. The defense’s simulated jury tests had indicated that black females disliked Nicole Simpson–believing that she was irresponsibly milking money from a famous black man–and that they would also likely be hostile to a hard-edged female prosecutor such as Marcia Clark. This gave great strength to the defense, which was given a presumably prejudiced jury.

Another strength given to the defense in the case was that the trial was not filed in the judicial district where the crime occurred, as is the usual, but rather in downtown Los Angeles. The decision not to file the case in Santa Monica may have been the biggest mistake the prosecution made. The jury in Santa Monica would have been mostly white, which would have all but guaranteed a guilty verdict as many polls stated that most whites believed O.J. to be guilty. Vincent Bugliosi, the celebrated prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, said the mistake “dwarfed anything the defense did.”

We still have a lot of questions regarding the trial. Was the jury prejudiced in the ruling? Was blood evidence not enough? Here are excerpts from the trial transcripts, draw your own conclusions.

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Matthew Rash
Matthew is an Graduate MBA student at Indiana University. He is involved in data analysis, market research, and statistics. He enjoys reading, writing and community involvement.

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